Lexical Development

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  • Lexical development is the study of changes that occur in vocabulary knowledge over childhood. It concerns children's first steps in building a vocabulary, how children of different ages assign meanings to words, and how these meanings change in response to various experiences.

    First Words

    Across many cultures, children tend to produce their first words at 12 or 13 months. These words have a simple structure (e.g., ba for bottle or kiki for kitty) and are composed of sounds heard in the children's babbling. The words have a consistent meaning and a sound form that is derived from a word heard in apparent connection with that meaning. Many first words are initially uttered only in very specific contexts, often the one in which the child has most frequently ...

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